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August 16th 9 years 2 months ago #5018

  • djb
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1900 - Lord Kitchener relieves Hore at Eland's River. Martial law withdrawn from Molteno district. Buller and French join hands.
1901 - 19th Hussars cut up by Muller at Vrieskraal.
1902 - Boer Generals arrive in London.
Dr David Biggins

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August 16th 2 months 3 days ago #77977

  • BereniceUK
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1900 - Letters were written by Corporal Fred Jones, Wiltshire Regiment, and Private Fred Hickman, a Volunteer in the Royal Sussex Regiment, today. F. G. Hickman, of 24, Southwater Road, St Leonards, was a member of the 1st Cinque Ports Rifles. He may have been Alfred George Hickman, who was born in 1865, and died in 1951, aged 86.

....Private Fred Hickman, of the Provisional Battalion Camp, writing from Bloemfontein, on August 16th, to his mother at St. Leonards, says :—"We arrived here from Doorn Spruit late on Tuesday evening, alter having had eight hours in the open cattle trucks, and you may guess we were pretty tired. The next day we were inspected by Col. Long (the man who lost the guns), and kits were also overhauled. Everything with the exception of an extra shirt and pair of socks (which I did not possess) waa taken away from us, or rather, we had to get rid of it all, as we may be sent up from here at any moment to join our regiment. The only thing which keeps us is the scarcity of rolling stock."
Hastings and St.Leonards Observer, Saturday 15th September 1900


....A letter, hailing from Elandsfontein, and dated 16th August, has been received in Chester by Mr. John Griffiths from Corporal Fred Jones, a Cestrian, who also served in India some few years ago with the 99th Wiltshire Regiment, with which he is now serving in South Africa as a second-class reserve man. Mr. Jones says that none of his regiment ever dreamt of getting so far up country. They were to have accompanied Lord Roberts when he made his general advance from Bloemfontein, but the Guards were sent on instead. They, however, have had a rougher time of it in the Free State than the troops which accompanied Lord Roberts with his advance on Pretoria. His brigade, the 12th, marched from Bloemfontein on the 20th of May, and from then till the 28th of July they did nothing but march and fight in the Free State. They were accompanied by the Royal Irish, Worcester Regiment, the Bedford Regiment, the 81st Field Artillery (with two siege guns, nicknamed Joey Chamberlains, manned by Garrison Artillery men, which would send a 50lb. shell a distance of twelve miles), 800 of Brabant's Horse, and about 100 Infantry. At Senekal they came across General Rundle with his 8th Division, and remained there a short time to garrison it, until they were relieved by the Scots Guards. From this place they were ordered to march to Bethlehem, but they had not gone four miles before they found themselves under Boer fire, which kept them busy until dark. At daybreak the Boers opened again with shell fire, but their guns were soon silenced, and the Boer had to beat a hasty retreat. They did not come across them again that day, and marched 22 miles, making up for the six miles they were only able to do the previous day. After several days' hard fighting they succeeded in getting into Bethlehem, on the way capturing one of their guns, which turned out to be one of the British taken by the Boers at Stormberg. The writer next describes the journey from Bethlehem to a place named Globberts Nek, a strong position held by some two or three thousand Boers. Here further fighting took place, and his regiment lost 12 killed and 13 wounded. The Boers were outflanked, however, after eight hours' hard marching and climbing, and being fairly paralysed, mounted their horses and scooted off as hard as their horses could take them, only to come in for the artillery shells, which played havoc among, them. Next day they marched to Fouresberg without opposition, but the next again found them in the heat of battle. His company was acting as the advance guard, and kept advancing and fighting all across the open, with not as much as a blade of grass to shelter them from their bullets, which fell as thick as hailstones. Next day (Sunday) the enemy asked for four days' armistice, which was refused, and on Monday about 5,000 of them surrendered. They had been driven into a corner on the Basutoland border, and dared not go further, for fear of having the Basutos at them. After the surrender they marched to Kroonstad, and from there to Elandsfontein, where they arrived on the 10th ult. Here they halted for a rest, and to await an arrival of stores, such as boots, socks, trousers, and serges, for they looked a ragged lot. He expects when they are properly rigged out they will be sent after De Wet (called Slippery Peter) and his gang. The writer concludes by remarking that they are now enjoying the luxury of bread for the first time since leaving Bloemfontein.
Cheshire Observer, Saturday 15th September 1900
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